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Tonopah wild Horse Gather Preliminary Environmental Assessment Available for Public Comment



blm_logo-300x261-1429136-8533239TONOPAH — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office is proposing to remove about 182 excess wild horses and burros from within and outside of the boundaries of the the Paymaster and Montezuma Herd Management Areas (HMAs) to bring the number of wild horses in the HMA to 27 wild horses and 10 burros. The Montezuma Peak HMA is located just to the west of the town of Goldfield, 26 miles south of Tonopah in Esmeralda County, Nevada; the Paymaster HMA is located less than five miles north of the Montezuma Peak HMA and 7 miles west of Tonopah.

The proposal and associated impacts are described and analyzed in the Paymaster and Montezuma HMA Wild Horse Gather Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA). The BLM would appreciate receiving substantive comments on the EA by July 15, 2010. Comments received during the public review period will be analyzed and considered as part of the decision-making process.

The EA may be viewed at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/battle_mountain_field.html. Questions and written comments should be mailed to Thomas J. Seley, Tonopah Field Manager, Tonopah Field Office, P.O. Box 911 (1553 S. Main St.), Tonopah, NV 89049. Comments may also be provided through e-mail to this address: [email protected]. In order to be considered, all comments must be received by mail or to the identified e-mail address. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available.

The gather is needed to achieve the Appropriate Management Level (AML) in the Paymaster and Montezuma HMAs and to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance for the remaining wild horse and burro population, wildlife, livestock and vegetation. The BLM issued Final Multiple Use Decisions (FMUDs) between 2001 and 2007 for the allotments within the HMAs which established an AML of 38 wild horses for the Paymaster HMA and 3 horses and 10 burros for the Montezuma Peak HMA. These HMAs are very arid, located at the northern edge of the Mojave Desert and do not provide suitable habitat for large numbers of wild horses and burros. The areas have a history of poor animal health and emergency gathers due to lack of adequate forage and water, particularly during drought years.

It is estimated that approximately 45 wild horses would be gathered and removed from outside of the Paymaster HMA and inside if needed to leave a post gather population of 23 wild horses. Approximately 61 wild burros and 78 wild horses would be gathered and removed from within and outside of the Montezuma Peak HMA to leave a post gather population of 3 wild horses and 10 wild burros.

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